Training Screenagers to Flip

One of the little obstacles that I have dealt with whilst flipping my classroom is the ‘mystery of the forgotten quiz’… all too often, otherwise conscientious students were just forgetting to complete the quizzes that accompany my videos.  You can see the platform that I use at www.sophia.org .  These have an important role in the teaching and learning process, and the results help me to tailor my teaching and respond to learning needs from the class.  The question is, why was this forgetfulness happening?  The students were watching the videos, and taking notes but they were somehow overlooking the quiz?!  As you can see, it’s not hard to miss…Spot the Quiz?!

I had no answer for this conundrum until I considered some personal reading on the power of habit and ritual (‘Daily Rituals’ by Mason Currey-check a review out here)…sounds a little prehistoric and gory, but stay with me…young people today only seem to consume media/look at screens in a passive context.  Therefore are they habitually hardwired, when their laptop or tablet is in front of them, to disengage their learning brains?

These digital natives, these Screenagers (a term that has been around for a while but was coined for me by @animationchefs so a hat tip to them!) are not accustomed to learning from media in any sense.  They are, in many cases, psychologically unprepared to watch a video and complete a quiz in an online learning  environment, using a piece of hardware that is generally only used for leisure.  This paradox has to be consciously overcome by the young person, and as a flipped educator it is my job to bring their attention to it.  It is also my job to make my videos as engaging and active as possible, and as such, embedding questions in the videos will be my next project!

There has, of course, been much written about the power of gaming in developing neuro-plasticity – more on this here.  I support much of the theory behind this and believe that there is value in games based learning.  However, it is in many cases for many young people, learning through the back door.  They are certainly learning and developing their brains, yet during a game of ‘flappy bird’ can you evaluate what you have learned?  Did you even intend to learn anything?

I must admit that once aware of this potential issue, there has been a much more uniform engagement with the quizzes and forms and a general appreciation of what it means in a wider sense, to learn in a flipped classroom.  The revolution that is surely just around the corner in learning, means that we have to prepare our young people, our screenagers, to learn in a digital environment.

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